My fourth attempt - Academic Program Pages at Evergreen

Teaching, Learning and Schooling
Anne Carpenter
Changing the way we currently teach only to the good, quiet, well-behaved child
(Mooney & Cole, 2000) and teach to all children we will be more successful as a society
in educating our youth. Quality education encourages a wide-open, creative problem –
solving approach, thereby exploring alternative thinking options, multiple right answers,
and creative insights (Jensen, 2005, p.153). Children seem to learn best with
individualized learning, teaching and schooling. Until we can tell what factors contribute
to brain development, we should focus on accommodating all learners (Jensen, 2005,
p.151). Learning is the internalized process of accumulating knowledge through
experience. Teaching is the planning guidance and mature experience to help students
became socialized members of society. Schooling is the bureaucracy, the institutions,
the environment and the schools.
Individuals learn through their prior knowledge and bring into the classroom their
Brains vary from individual to individual, as a result of both genetic
makeup and the influence of environment and life experience. Expect
what works for one student may not work for another. Make differentiation
and customization the norm in your classroom not the exception (Jensen,
2005, p. 154)
Mooney and Cole figured out through their previous experience how they learn
best. “Our skills are alternative learning skills. In every section, we explore multiple entry
point to information, integrating color, verbal processing, pragmatic learning, and project
based learning (p.83). However, learning using an alternative method goes in direct
opposition to current systems. “Students need privacy, reflection, and thinking time. We
ask student to either suppress those needs or to reflect and think in workspaces that
would strain our sensibilities (Jensen, 2005, p.90). Current systems use isolation to
teach individual subjects, there is no link between one subject and another or even the
relevance of the subject to the adult world (Dewey, 1916). According to Jensen (2005),
a study at the University of Arizona showed that students with a background in statistic
and math could not transfer these skills to new situations in the real world (p.117).
Learning to learn strategies are far more essential to real world success than are
amassed facts (p.152). Teaching students in multidiscipline programs will enable the
students to connect the different subjects to real life. Enforced quiet and acquiescence
prevents pupils from disclosing their real natures. They enforce artificial uniformity. They
put seeming before being. They place a premium upon preserving the outward
appearance of attention, decorum and obedience (Dewey, 1938, p.62). By not knowing
their students, the teachers cannot teach to the individual.
Independent communities place values on and reinforce specific information
regardless of academic achievement. Rogoff (2003) stated each community may have
different end goals in educating their children:”… learn to attend to the nuances of
weather patterns or of social cues of people around them, to use words cleverly to joust,
or to understand the relation between human and supernatural events” (p. 22). To
make all children learn the same information is a disservice to the child and waste of
valuable resources. It’s important to have realistic expectations about what can and
should be recalled and to appreciate the differences among learners and their preferred
style of learning (Jensen, 2005, p. 129). We have let money get in the way of teaching
our children. However, by not educating children individually we have young people who
are required to be part of an artificial community, school. Enforcing students to be quiet,
sit still, no talking to preserve out ward appearances creates an artificial environment to
the detriment of the child. The child becomes discouraged and eventually drops out of
school. With three and a half million dropouts in America, they are more likely to be on
unemployment, live in poverty, depend on social services and go to jail. Because these
young people are not educated, they are costing the American society billions in social
services and lost wages (Milliken, 2007).
Using the socratic method of teaching, Socrates questioned Meno’s knowledge
of virtue, and rather than answering Meno’s question, Socrates allowed Meno to
discover for himself what he knew or did not know. In other words, by debating with
Meno, Socrates provided individualized teaching to Meno even though Socrates
declared that he does not teach. “I shall only ask him, and not teach him, and he shall
share the enquiry with me: and do you watch and see if you find me telling or explaining
anything to him, instead of eliciting his opinion” (Plato, trans. Jowett, 1995). Using
deductive teaching Socrates was allowing Meno to experience for himself the idea that
knowledge is learned.
Schooling is a wide-ranging institution made up of buildings, bureaucracy, social
thoughts and cultural values. Rogoff (2003) stated, “schoolchildren by age became
formalized with the advent of compulsory schooling, which required a standard starting
age to verify that children were not truant. Age-grading served bureaucratic needs in the
face of great increases in the numbers of schoolchildren, due in part to industrialization,
urbanizations of the population, and huge influxes of immigrants” (p. 156). To
accommodate all participants equitably current systems must evolve. Schools with
shattered windows, broken-down restrooms, leaky roofs, insufficient lighting, and
overcrowding have a significantly negative impact on cognition (Jensen, 2005, p.
91).The thoughts and values of current society must progress and accommodate all
styles of schooling. Research indicates that well-planned learning environments
stimulate learning and reduce discipline problems (Jensen, 2005, p.91). Granted, it will
take time to change and become more open to teaching all children individually,
however we must begin somewhere and we can initiate the change.
Individualizing learning teaching and schooling brings out the best in all children.
Physical environments influence how we feel, hear and see. Those factors, in turn,
influence cognitive and affective performance (Jensen, 2005, p.82). Currently, our
schools are not designed with the student in mind. Most buildings have poor lighting,
are noisy, have bad air quality and are not conducive to learning. Success as a society
in educating our youth will occur when we change the way we currently teach and
accommodate the whole child.
Brains vary from individual to individual, as a result of both genetic makeup and
the influence of environment and life experience. Expect what works for one student
may not work for another. Make differentiation and customization the norm in your
classroom not the exception (Jensen, 2005, p. 154)
Children learn best with individualized learning :“It is a loss and a crime when
creativity, alternative learning skills, and an individualized education take a back seat to
rote memorizations, standardized testing, and the misconceptions that all people learn
the same way” (Mooney & Cole, 2000, p.20) This was true during Plato’s time and it is
still true now.
Unfortunately, our children are the ones that are being hurt by using assessment
based punitive labeling to pigeonhole kids.
Jensen comments that children’s brains develop at different age ranges, some
children may be ready to read by 3 or 4 years old others not until 7 or 8 (p.151)